Feature Books – David McKay Publications
This week I wanted to feature a collecting focus that is beyond cool. It’s nice to have that Amazing Spider-Man run and that Batman run but thousands of those runs are being put together (with perhaps thousands more already completed). What will really impress the guests at your dinner party is the run of Feature Books you are trying to complete.
David McKay Publications was a well established book publisher dating back to the late 1800s. In the mid 1930s the company identified comic books as a potential growth market and began selling collections of popular newspaper strips. In 1936 they began publishing reprints of King Feature Syndicate’s newspaper comic strips under the title King Comics. Ace Comics was successfully launched soon after. In 1937 the company began publishing Feature Books.
The Feature Books run lasted 59 issues dating from 1937 to 1948. The first 25 issues were oversized 9”x12” black and white comic books while issues 26-57 were standard sized color comic books.
There are 2 Feature books that precede the run, neither is numbered and both are extremely rare (3 known complete copies of each are known to exist). NN Popeye and the Jeep was reprinted as Feature Book #3 while NN Dick Tracy (Dick Tracy’s 1st comic book appearance) was reprinted in Feature Book #4.
The first 25 oversized Feature Books represent a bridge between newspaper strips and standard comic books that comic book aficionados find very collectible (you may have to resign yourself to not including the first 2 no numbered issues due to their rarity). Great characters like Blondie, Popeye, Little Orphan Annie, Lone Ranger, Flash Gordon, Dick Tracy, the Phantom, the Lone Ranger and others are featured in the first 25 issue oversized run.
Solid mid-grade copies price guide out at only a few hundred dollars or less for most of the issues. You’ll find them more affordable than many Bronze Age comics. Availability is the issue and most sellers will look for premiums. Still, take it slow; over time you’ll amass a collection of very important comics that will impress anyone (except maybe your date).
Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada